Counter Terrorism News Check
Counter Terrorism Page 17
WeB-LOG after 9/11 continued
This blog will stop when the winner
for President of the United States is decided.
That could be soon as November 2, 2004.
Feel free to archive all my pages and share the information on the Internet because they would disappear if I were no longer able to maintain them.
Many people predict that George W. Bush will win the presidential election.
Nov 3, 2004
President Bush won four more years in the White House on Wednesday. The Republicans now have a record majority in the House and the Senate, seven of the nine members of the Supreme Court were appointed by Republicans, a large majority of State Governors are Republicans, and George Bush is now a lame duck who is not facing re-election.
Fear, war, and terror have again proven to be a way to win an election. And thanks to AM radio stations that are dominated by pro Republican propaganda. Before and after 9/11 with plans to keep it that way, one political party stays in control of the United States of America to apply domestic and foreign policies, to write the laws, to enforce the laws, and to interpret the laws.
What is the future going to be for us?
It depends on if you are "with us or against us", a quote from President Bush!
This is to remember what the 2004 candidates thought.
Stanford Professor On
Black Box Voting Secrecy
"Why am I always being asked to prove these systems aren't secure? The burden of proof ought to be on the vendor.
You ask them about the hardware. "Secret."
The software? "Secret."
What's the cryptography?
"Can't tell you because that'll compromise the secrecy of the machines."
Federal testing procedures? "Secret"
Results of the tests? "Secret"
Basically, we are required to have blind faith."
- Dr. David L. Dill
Professor, Computer Sciences
Nov 2, 2004
Electronic Voting Machine Woes Reported
By RACHEL KONRAD
AP Technology Writer
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) -- Voters nationwide reported some 1,100 problems with electronic voting machines on Tuesday, including trouble choosing their intended candidates.
The e-voting glitches reported to the Election Protection Coalition, an umbrella group of volunteer poll monitors that set up a telephone hotline, included malfunctions blamed on everything from power outages to incompetent poll workers.
But there were also several dozen voters in six states - particularly Democrats in Florida - who said the wrong candidates appeared on their touch-screen machine's checkout screen, the coalition said.
In many cases, voters said they intended to select John Kerry but when the computer asked them to verify the choice it showed them instead opting for President Bush, the group said.
Ralph G. Neas, president of People for the American Way Foundation, which helped form the coalition, called the summary screen problem "troubling but anecdotal."
He and other voting rights advocates said the disproportionate number of Democrats reporting such problems was probably due to higher awareness of voter protection coalitions.
"Overall, the problems of outright voter intimidation and suppression have not been as great as in the past," Neas said.
But the reports did highlight computer scientists' concerns about touch screens, which they say are prone to tampering and unreliable unless they produce paper records for recounts.
Roberta Harvey, 57, of Clearwater, Fla., said she had tried at least a half dozen times to select Kerry-Edwards when she voted Tuesday at Northwood Presbyterian Church.
After 10 minutes trying to change her selection, the Pinellas County resident said she called a poll worker and got a wet-wipe napkin to clean the touch screen as well as a pencil so she could use its eraser-end instead of her finger. Harvey said it took about 10 attempts to select Kerry before and a summary screen confirmed her intended selection.
Election officials in several Florida counties where voters complained about such problems did not return calls Tuesday night.
A spokesoman for the company that makes the touch-screen machines used in Pinellas, Palm Beach and two other Florida counties, Alfie Charles of Sequoia Voting Systems Inc., said the machines' monitors may need to be recalibrated periodically.
The most likely reason the summary screen showed wrong candidates was because voters pushed the wrong part of the touch screen in the first place, Charles said.
He said poll workers are trained to perform the recalibration whenever a voter says the touch screen isn't sensitive enough.
"Voters will vote quickly and they'll notice that they made an error when they get to the review screen. The review screen is doing exactly what it needs to do - notifying voters what selections are about to be recorded," Charles said. "On a paper ballot, you don't get a second chance to make sure you voted for whom you intended, and it's a strong point in favor of these machines."
The Election Protection Coalition received a total of 32 reports of touch-screen voters who selected one candidate only to have another show up on the summary screen, Cindy Cohn, legal director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a coalition member.
David Dill, a Stanford University computer scientist whose Verified Voting Foundation also belongs to the coalition, said he wouldn't "prejudge and say the election is going smoothly just because we have a small number of incident reports out of the total population.
"It's not going to be until the dust clears probably tomorrow that we have even an approximate idea of what happened," Dill added.
Don't Count on Recounts
By Kim Zetter
Nov. 02, 2004
When candidates start demanding recounts in the aftermath of Tuesday's election, many will make an unsettling discovery: In the districts that used electronic voting machines there won't be a way to conduct a meaningful recount.
That's because the paperless machines provide no method for conducting an independent analysis of the votes other than what's in the machine's memory. And collecting the data necessary to prove fraud or irregularities on a touch-screen machine will be uphill battles, since courts and election officials have been unsympathetic to losing candidates making such claims in the past.
As many activists have pointed out over the past year, conducting recounts on e-voting machines means that election officials simply re-run the same electronic data on the same machines. If machines recorded the votes inaccurately the first time or if the counting software contained flaws or malicious code that produced untrustworthy results, a recount using the same software would produce the same untrustworthy results. Garbage in, garbage out, as they say.
The other option is to examine the internal workings of the machines. But since the software used on the machines is proprietary, most courts have been unwilling to grant candidates access to the code.
This hasn't always been the case. In 1984, a court did allow plaintiffs in a disputed election to examine the source code. That year, when Ronald Reagan was re-elected president, lawsuits in Florida, Indiana and West Virginia charged fraud and vote manipulation in local races. Fingers pointed to the company that made the machines used in the election -- Votomatic punch-card machines, made by Computer Election Systems, or CES, of Berkeley, California, which used computer software to tally the votes. Experts said the company designed the machines and software so that vote totals could easily be altered without leaving a trace.
Losing candidates in one race charged that when the computer acted up on election night, a CES employee inserted control cards into the machine. The plaintiffs sued to retrieve the source code, and the court, for once, consented. When computer experts examined the software, they determined that CES had changed the computer's instructions for tallying votes on election night. But because the program lacked adequate auditing mechanisms to track the nature of those changes, no one could determine if the company had rigged the election. The plaintiffs lost the case because the court ruled that their claims were mere conjecture.
"Mere conjecture" is a phrase likely to be heard a lot this year. That's because election officials and courts so far have not been helpful in providing losing candidates with backup and peripheral data, such as machine audit logs and software source code that might help determine if votes on a machine were recorded inaccurately.
"How can you show fraud or error if you've been denied access to any of the tools that can show you the existence of fraud or error?" said California attorney Greg Luke, who has litigated election disputes. "We need to get procedures in place long before elections that tell officials what they need to preserve and hand over in a recount. It's a messy thing to try to have courts step in and tell people what they should have been doing from the beginning."
A recent California case highlights how an election dispute with touch-screen machines in this election could play out.
Last March in California's Riverside County, Linda Soubirous, a candidate for board of supervisors, lost her race to an incumbent and missed a chance for a runoff by only 45 votes. California election law allows any citizen the right to request a recount. When Soubirous did so, the county simply ran the same electronic data through the machines to get the same results. Soubirous said this was inadequate and sued the county and former registrar of voters Mischelle Townsend to obtain audit logs and the electronic memory cartridges from the machines where the votes were stored.
The recount gave Soubirous even more reason to believe there might have been problems with the original count, because election officials discovered 300 additional paper ballots that they had missed during the first count. There were also eyewitness reports that on election night Townsend had halted vote counting for a period of time and allowed employees of the voting machine company, Sequoia Voting Systems, to access the computer containing the counting software.
Townsend refused to hand over the audit logs and memory cartridges, saying they were irrelevant to a recount. This was strange because Townsend had been telling e-voting critics for the past year that voters shouldn't worry about the security of touch-screen machines because they stored three redundant versions of votes which could always be examined in a recount. Riverside was the first county in the state to purchase touch-screen machines, spending $14 million in 1999 for them.
Townsend didn't give a clear reason why she believed the redundant data and logs were irrelevant to a recount. Nonetheless, California Superior Court Judge James S. Hawkins ruled that Riverside County voting officials did not have to hand over the logs or cartridges and that the county had a right to decide what materials were relevant to a recount.
Luke, who is representing Soubirous in an appeal of the decision, said he thinks it has a good chance of being overturned, since California law specifies that anyone disputing election results has the right to request the relevant data. But even if Luke succeeds in winning access to the data, it's possible that its authenticity has been corrupted with the passage of time and recent moves by election officials to copy the data onto a server.
Luke is lucky that the Riverside data didn't go the way of redundant data that disappeared earlier this year in Florida. After voting activists filed a request to view audit logs for votes cast on touch-screen machines during the 2002 primary election, officials claimed the logs were lost when a computer crashed in 2003. Officials in Miami-Dade County later found the backup data, but the lapse didn't give voters confidence in the voting systems or in the ability of election officials to preserve valuable data for recounts.
On its own, the redundant data can't prove an absence of fraud. For this, Luke and other litigants would need to have access to the source code of the machines' software. But voting companies have succeeded until now in getting courts to agree that parties that contest an election have no right to see the proprietary code.
Election laws across the country need to be revised to keep pace with the new technology, Luke said. As they currently stand, the laws set an impossible bar for anyone to prove fraud. In most states, he said, election law requires that someone contesting an election have some proof of fraud before they can request access to the vote data.
"Contests are expensive and they almost always require someone to show in advance that they think a certain number of votes were wrongly counted," he said. "When you file the contest you have to say, for example, that 501 votes were incorrectly counted. You have to have a reasonable basis. The catch-22 is that unless you have been denied access to all of this secondary material which gives you some information about whether the machines have functioned improperly, it's very difficult to make that allegation."
Some 50 million registered voters live in counties where more than 100,000 touch-screen machines will be used this week. Given the number of machines, it's highly likely that some machines will fail to record votes or fail to record them accurately. Will we know about those problems? No one knows. In close elections there is always more scrutiny on how the machines counted the votes. But in elections with wide margins, no one seems to care if machines miscount votes. That's why election officials are praying for wide margins this year. They're not likely to get them.
Iraq oil pipelines hit by
biggest attacks yet
02 Nov 2004
By Khaled Yacoub Oweis
BAGHDAD Nov 2 (Reuters) - Saboteurs have mounted the biggest attacks yet on Iraq's oil infrastructure, blowing up four pipelines in the north in 24 hours, and hitting exports via Turkey, oil officials said on Tuesday. The attacks, which were hours apart, sharply reduced crude oil supplies to Iraq's biggest refinery at Baiji. The government is already struggling to build up stocks of refined oil products ahead of winter. Sabotage against oil facilities in north and central Iraq has intensified in the past few weeks as U.S. forces have mounted attacks on Sunni Muslim cities where insurgents have support. Imports of refined products have been also disrupted. The first pipeline attack on Monday night destroyed a section of the Iraq-Turkey export pipeline in the Riyadh area, 65 km southwest of the oil producing centre of Kirkuk, officials at the state North Oil Company said. It was followed by two other attacks, including one in the Qoshqaya region northwest of the city on a pipeline connected to the Bai Hassam oilfield and feeding the main export pipeline, officials said. "They used rocket-propelled grenades, machineguns and bombs," said an oil official of the latest attack, adding that the pipeline was connected to the Khabbaz oilfield, 35 km (22 miles) south of Kirkuk. He said the blaze has spread to oil and gas storage tanks near the pipeline. "We cut off all flows for now. The Qoshqaya fire is covering around one square kilometre. The export pipeline fire is also big," one official said. "Technically, the system was shut down."
EXPORTS VIA TURKEY HIT
Iraq has been exporting some 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) in recent days via the pipeline to the Turkish Mediterranean port of Ceyhan, mainly from the Kirkuk oilfields in the north. Shipping sources in Turkey told Reuters some crude still appeared to be flowing to Ceyhan, albeit at a reduced rate. The oil is likely to be coming from smaller fields further north of the blast via the pumping station at Tikrit but it is unclear how long this can be sustained. "The pumping has been sort of sporadic in the past week. It is down to about 140,000 bpd today," one shipper said. But the sources said about 3.5 million barrels of Kirkuk crude are lying in storage tanks at Ceyhan, meaning tanker loadings can continue on schedule. ExxonMobil's Framura tanker was due to lift 700,000 barrels later on Tuesday, shippers said. The Kirkuk region produces 600,000-700,000 bpd out of the country's output of 2.6 million bpd. Exports were continuing normally via the southern Basra terminal. Oil officials said relentless sabotage since the war has cost the treasury billions of dollars in lost revenue. Iraq's October exports were at 1.76 million bpd from Basra as well as Turkey, shipping lists compiled by Reuters showed on Tuesday.
An Election Spoiled Rotten
November 01, 2004
November 1, 2004
CounterPunch Exclusive *** Secret Afghan Envoy Tells All ***
Give Him an "F" in the War on Terror
How Bush Was Offered Bin Laden and Blew It
By ALEXANDER COCKBURN
and JEFFREY ST. CLAIR
George Bush, the man whose prime campaign plank has been his ability to wage war on terror, could have had Osama bin Laden's head handed to him on a platter on his very first day in office, and the offer held good until February 2 of 2002. This is the charge leveled by an Afghan American who had been retained by the US government as an intermediary between the Taliban and both the Clinton and Bush administrations.
America's Middle Class
Becomes the New Working Poor
Commentary by Frosty Wooldridge
November 1, 2004
In the past ten years, American jobs screamed out of the United States at an accelerating rate of speed. While American workers stood in unemployment lines, major corporations insourced, outsourced and offshored jobs to Third World countries. Why? They could obtain labor for $1.00 an hour and sometimes less. Capitalism knows no loyalty to man, beast or country.
1 November, 2004
US warns of 'new terror threat'
The US has warned its citizens in Nordic and Baltic states of the threat of imminent attacks.
In a statement posted on the Finnish embassy website, the state department warns citizens to be vigilant, especially when using public transport.
A statement on the Latvian embassy website warns citizens to avoid crowded areas and transport hubs from Monday.
They do not provide further details or say whether the threat is linked to Tuesday's US presidential elections.
The Nordic countries comprise Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway and Iceland.
The Baltic states are Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
Monday, 1, November, 2004
(18, Ramadhan, 1425)
Al-Qaeda Plans Attack on UK Bases
Agence France Presse
LONDON/MADRID, 1 November 2004 Al-Qaeda is planning to attack British military bases, the Sunday Telegraph reported, quoting a top-secret British intelligence document.
There is a substantial threat against military bases from international terrorists organizations, said the newspaper, which claimed to have obtained the report, entitled Security Update September 2004.
Horse Guards Parade, Wellington Barracks, and the Royal Guard Rooms in Buckingham Palace all in central London face a severe threat, the second highest danger level, the newspaper said.
The document, marked restricted, has been distributed to all military garrisons in Britain, it said.
Credible reporting continues to indicate that AQ (Al-Qaeda) and associated terrorist groups, intend to attack Western targets globally, the report says, according to the newspaper.
Targeting against UK and US interests both at home and abroad remains a priority for AQ... the UK remains a high priority for AQ planning for terrorist attacks and (AQ) will employ a variety of attack methods to breach physical security measures, the document says, according to the same source.
It also warns military service personnel that there is a real threat against identifiable servicemen and advises against the wearing of uniform in public especially in the vicinity of home or while traveling on public transport, the Sunday Telegraph said.
The newspaper report comes the day after Al-Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden, architect of the Sept. 11, 2001, strikes in the United States, threatened new attacks in a video message broadcast by the Al-Jazeera Arab satellite television network.
Pakistanis Arrested in Spain Funded Al-Qaeda
Ten Pakistanis arrested in mid-September in Barcelona were allegedly funding the Al-Qaeda network by transferring ill-gotten money to Pakistan from Spain, a newspaper report said yesterday.
The men wired money earlier this year to three collaborators of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who is suspected of having planned the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington, El Pais reported citing sources close to the investigation.
The paper did not say who had received the money, but said they had been arrested in a swoop earlier in 2004 in Pakistan during which one of them was killed.
The Pakistanis detained on suspicion of belonging to a terrorist group could have made up to 18,000 euros ($23,000) per day from trafficking in drugs, stolen bank cards and counterfeit passports, the report said.
All clues indicate part of that money was sent to (the Pakistani cities) of Karachi and Islamabad to fund terrorist activities, El Pais reported.
Arrested, Large Cache of Arms Seized
Raid Qusti, Arab News
RIYADH, 1 November 2004 Security forces have arrested an Al-Qaeda terrorist in pre-dawn raids in Riyadh and confiscated weapons and a large quantity of explosives including 23 hand grenades, guns and live ammunition from a terrorist hide-out in the city.
Police arrested two other terror suspects in separate raids in Riyadh, said an official source at the Interior Ministry. He said security forces also confiscated 33 bombs, two launchers, two machine guns, communication devices and different currencies.
Interior Ministry spokesman Brig. Gen. Mansour Al-Turki earlier denied rumors of a car bomb being prepared by terrorists to carry out a major attack in the Kingdom, saying they are baseless.
He also said that the large presence of security trucks and police cars in the capital over the past two weeks was a normal procedure.
The recent security measures in Riyadh have nothing to do with the commemoration of the great battle of Badr whose anniversary fell yesterday. It was the first battle in Islam, won by Muslims led by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) against the polytheists of Qureish during Ramadan in the second Hijra year.
Speaking about the new advisories issued by the US and German embassies to their citizens in Saudi Arabia, Al- Turki said, We respect the right of every country to take the necessary measures toward its citizens in any matter that it sees fit anywhere in the world. However, the security situation in Saudi Arabia is excellent and that is what is being felt by citizens and residents alike.
The spokesman said that residential compounds and other places inhabited by Westerners and other foreigners were safe from any terrorist attacks. He said that as far as he knew there was no current terrorist threat or terrorist attack about to take place.
Security procedures that have been announced and others that have not been made public are precautionary measures so that terrorists do not achieve their goals by destabilizing the security of the country and harming citizens and residents, he said.
Meanwhile, police forces in Al-Qasim on Saturday combed Khabt Al-Jateili area, south of Buraidah, in search of terror suspects. Two helicopters in addition to several police units blocked off all roads leading to nearby farms and rest houses that are located in the area. There were no arrests.
Frustration in the hunt
for bin Laden
By NICK MEO on the Afghanistan/Pakistan border
The Army guy was scattering handfuls of Osama bin Laden leaflets from his Humvee as the heavily-armed convoy bumped through a mudbrick village on the way to the Pakistan border. He nurtured the unlikely hope that somebody with information would find them lying in the road.
The leaflets, designed by a Psy-ops team based back in Fire Base Salerno, did not mention the US$25m reward but featured sinister colour pictures of Osama, his deputy Ayman Al-Zawahiri, and the one-eyed Mullah Omar, looking like evil zombies from a horror film.
The caption in Pushtun mocked them for drawing out a war that they could not win.
"Nobody really thinks bin Laden is here in Afghanistan," said the soldier, whose job was to make friends with Afghan villagers in the hope of finding useful intelligence.
"But a lot of people go to and fro across the border. Just maybe somebody who knows something we want to know will pick up a leaflet."
He was seconded to a deeply frustrated Marine unit. After six months in Afghanistan, Lima Company still hadn't been in a firefight with the enemy, based tantalisingly in Pakistan just across the border they cannot cross.
Their mission was to drive from their base in the city of Khowst to Border Checkpoint Number Three, a series of spectacular hilltop forts ringed with blast barriers and razor wire commanding a key border crossing into Afghanistan. It overlooked the rugged mountains of North Waziristan in Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province, the direction in which all BCP 3's machine guns were pointed.
A Marine officer spat a stream of brown saliva from chewing tobacco in the direction of Pakistan.
"We all know al Qaeda and the Taleban are in there somewhere," he said. "Maybe that's where bin Laden is hiding.
"We would dearly love to go in there, track them down, and end the war here and now. But for political reasons we can't."
Waziristan, a wild tribal territory where Islamabad barely has control, is one of the most likely hideouts for bin Laden, who is still along the border somewhere the US military in Kabul reiterated after he resurfaced in a video message to America's electorate last week.
But after three years of the biggest manhunt in history, the border has been scoured and the possibility of bin Laden being in a different hiding place looks more likely than it did before.
The Islamist slums of Karachi or mountainous Pakistani Kashmir, the base for a decade-long jihad against India, are other possibilities that the FBI's manhunters are now believed to be looking at more carefully.
Some analysts believe he may have escaped from Pakistan to his family homeland in Yemen or to one of Africa's lawless states.
Away from the hunt for Osama, a bloody guerrilla war that the outside world hardly sees continues on the border.
Commander Sakhi Rahman's force was attacked at BCP 3 a few weeks ago. One of his officers lost an arm and another was injured in the hand. Several Taleban attackers were killed.
Pakistani militia men who man the frontier a few hundred yards away helped the Taleban recover their dead and wounded, the commander said, and his men once killed a Pakistani militiaman who had joined in an attack.
Commander Rahman had been instructed not to speak to the press by the shadowy forces from Chapman, the US base for the CIA, Special Forces, and other publicity shy secret warriors who recruited, trained, and armed the 1,000-strong mercenary army manning the border forts which Commander Rahman belongs to. But he was boiling with anger and spoke anyway.
"Our intelligence told us that the attackers were all Pakistanis and they were paid 5000 rupees each.
"They were Haqqani's men. Everybody knows he lives in Miram Shah. "Why don't the Pakistanis arrest him?"
Jalaluddin Haqqani is a veteran warlord in his seventies who once fought the Soviets with US supplied weapons and is now allied with al Qaeda. He has become the biggest thorn in the side of American forces in Khowst province.
Putting a US$250,000 bounty on his head has not yet eliminated the Haqqani problem, although some believe he may now be living in Saudi Arabia in semi-retirement, leaving the day to day running of his war to his son Sarajuddin.
His Arab friends' money pays for a chain of madrassas inside Pakistan - the nearest in the town of Miram Shah which can just be seen from the border fortresses - and he is regarded as the main instigator of the border guerrilla war in Khowst Province.
US officers say it is Haqqani's network which sends young brainwashed assassins across to kill government officials in suicide attacks, ambushes lorries bringing supplies to US bases on the dangerous road from Kabul, and masterminds mass attacks on government positions in which badly-trained teenage guerrillas are often slaughtered.
Border Checkpoint Number Two a few miles away has the graves of 40 of them outside its perimeter. Commander Rahman believes the border war would quickly end if Pakistan wanted it to.
He said: "Pakistan says it is helping America but it is not. Pakistan is two-faced."
General Kilbaz Sherzai, an old Communist intelligence chief trained in Frunze Military Academy, the Soviet Sandhurst, shares that view. He now works for the Americans in Khowst and recently survived a suicide attack by an inept attacker.
"The boy was sent by Haqqani," the general said. "He believed that he would go to paradise by killing an Afghan who was working with infidels, but instead he is in an American prison."
The general is convinced that Haqqani is a key player whose capture could lead to the biggest prize in the war on terror.
"He is a friend of bin Laden and has many links with al Qaeda," he said. "I'm sure he knows where Osama is. We just don't know why Pakistan doesn't arrest him."
NORTH KOREA AND SOUTH
N.Korea Argues U.S. Force Cutback Means War Imminent
Monday, November 01, 2004
The U.S. decision to cut and relocate its troop contingent in South Korea while bringing in high-tech armaments is a madcap ploy that shows a second Korean War is imminent, North Korea said on Friday.
The United States and South Korea signed a landmark deal on Tuesday under which a base in Seoul will be vacated and other camps relocated. Washington will also withdraw 12,500 troops by 2008 and move units south away from the fortified Demilitarized Zone border with the North.
General Leon LaPorte, commander of U.S. Forces in Korea, told a seminar many of the more than 100 U.S. sites had been down dusty tracks even 10 years ago but were now in built-up areas because South Korea's economy had grown so much.
"Many of these installations now cause an irritant to the Korean people," he said on Friday. "Our goal in realigning our forces is to reduce this irritant."
Many young South Koreans express anti-U.S. sentiments because of the military presence. Older people support the U.S. forces because they remember their role in the 1950-53 Korean War.
LaPorte said the key was to ensure North Korea did not misunderstand the U.S. plan, which is part of a global realignment of its forces.
North Korea has long argued all U.S. forces should withdraw but has taken a different line now that some are actually pulling out.
"The U.S. madcap arms build-up of an unprecedented scale now under way in South Korea under the pretext of the cut down of its troops and their relocation is a dangerous military action," said the North's main newspaper, Rodong Sinmun.
"The second Korean War which would bring a nuclear holocaust to the Korean nation is neither hypothesis nor a far-off event but imminent," the communist daily said in a commentary published by the official KCNA news agency in English.
North Korea often uses inflammatory rhetoric to criticize the United States.
LaPorte told the seminar new weaponry and faster mobilization from overseas bases would easily offset the withdrawal of a third of the 37,500 troops under his command.
"I would not support any efforts or any programs that put the security of South Korea in jeopardy," he said.
"The key question is to ensure North Korea does not miscalculate and perceive a weakness or a vulnerability first of all in the U.S. presence and commitment in Northeast Asia and also a split in the ROK-U.S. alliance," the general said. "We are working on that very hard."
He said the military rationale behind the changes was sound but it needed to be explained clearly to the South Korean public.
South Korea's parliament has to ratify the U.S. troop agreement by the end of the year. It is expected to do so because the ruling Uri Party has a majority.
China Lashes Out at Bush
Foreign Policy on Eve of US Election
By Luis Ramirez
1 November 2004
On the eve of the U.S. presidential election, China has accused President Bush of trying to rule the world and says the Iraq war has made global terrorism and ethnic conflicts worse. This is the first time China has been outspoken on issues impacting Tuesday's presidential election.
China's vice premier, and former foreign minister, Qian Qichen, said Monday the United States is "dreaming" if it thinks the 21st century is "the American century."
In an editorial in a state-run China Daily newspaper, he condemned President Bush's policy in Iraq, calling the war arrogant, saying it had made the United States unpopular and destroyed what he said was a "hard-won global anti-terror coalition."
He called for the Bush Doctrine of unilateral pre-emptive strikes against terrorist threats to be scrapped for the sake of global security.
Although the unusual editorial did not name President Bush's opponent, Senator John Kerry, the remarks by Mr. Qian on the eve of the U.S. presidential vote are the closest that China has come to taking sides in the election. Chinese officials have adamantly refused to comment on whom they support in the race, saying that doing so would be interfering in U.S. internal affairs.
Some analysts expressed surprise at China's decision Monday to speak out against Mr. Bush because Beijing could face trade problems if Mr. Kerry is elected. Politics professor David Zweig, at the Hong University of Science and Technology, says Democratic candidate John Kerry's allegiance to U.S. labor unions and opposition to outsourcing had made him likely to be unpopular among the Chinese leadership.
"Kerry has not always taken positions that China would like," Mr. Zweig says. "In some ways, if they were to vote on this election, one would have thought that they would be more inclined right now to take a slightly more pro-Bush position."
Chinese leaders have in the past praised President Bush for promoting trade ties, and for stating his administration's opposition to Taiwan's independence - a subject that Beijing regards as the most sensitive issue in its relations with Washington.
Professor Zweig says Monday's comments in the Chinese official press reflect China's growing prominence in international affairs. He says Beijing for the first time is seeing itself affected by U.S. policy in other parts of the world.
"The fact that Chinese are being kidnapped, killed in Pakistan," Mr. Zweig says. "China is now involved in the civil war in Darfour, in the Sudan. All of a sudden, what goes on in terms of American presence, of instability in the world has a much bigger impact on China than it did before."
China has often criticized what it has called the unilateralism of the Bush administration and was among the most vocal opponents last year to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.
GIs Lack Armor, Radios,
Oct. 31, 2004
(CBS) Two weeks ago, a group of Army reservists in Iraq refused a direct order to go on a dangerous operation to re-supply another unit with jet fuel.
Without helicopter gunships to escort them over a treacherous stretch of highway, and lacking armored vehicles, soldiers from the 343rd Quartermaster Company called it a suicide mission.
reponsibility for blast
ISLAMABAD, Oct 31: Abdullah Mehsud, an Al Qaeda-linked commander, on Sunday claimed responsibility for the Friday explosion at an Islamabad hotel.
Former Guantanamo Bay prisoner Abdullah Mehsud, 29, also threatened that his group would carry out violent attacks in other parts of the country. "Now we will spread out and carry out similar attacks wherever possible," he told Deutsche Presse-Agentur by telephone.
At the time of blast, sources told dpa that US and Japanese defence and intelligence officials were staying in the hotel, but most of them had had left the hotel by Friday evening.
Mehsud claimed that one US intelligence official had been killed in the blast. The US embassy has advised its nationals to avoid visiting the hotel.
'Pakistanis held in Spain
funded Al Qaeda'
MADRID, Oct 31: Ten Pakistanis arrested in mid-September in Barcelona were allegedly funding the Al Qaeda network by transferring ill-gotten money to Pakistan from Spain, a newspaper report claimed on Sunday.
The men wired money earlier this year to three collaborators of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who is suspected of having planned the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington, El Pais reported citing sources close to the investigation.
The paper did not say who had received the money, but said they had been arrested in a swoop earlier in 2004 in Pakistan during which one of them was killed.
The Pakistanis detained on suspicion of belonging to a terrorist group could have made up to 18,000 euros (23,000 dollars) per day from trafficking in drugs, stolen bank cards and counterfeit passports, the report said.
"All clues indicate part of that money was sent to Karachi and Islamabad to fund terrorist activities," El Pais reported.
When police arrested the Pakistanis on Sept 15 in the Mediterranean port city, they also seized several kilos of cocaine and 18,000 euros in cash, as well as videos in which some of the suspects were reportedly shown calling for a holy war.
Mohammed, believed to be one of Osama bin Laden's top lieutenants, was detained in March of 2003 near Islamabad and subsequently turned over to the US authorities. He is being held in a secret location.
In addition to the September 2001 attacks, he is suspected to have ordered the attack on a synagogue in Djerba in Tunisia in April 2002 which left 16 people dead.-AFP
Hacking The Presidency
A dishonest presidential election sets aside the future economic, social and military will of the American people. There is substantial evidence that electronic voting machine corporations and political forces in some states could turn aside the electoral wishes of the U.S. populace on November 2 by means of election fraud.
by Tom Flocco
Philadelphia -- October 30, 2002 -- TomFlocco.com -- A series of curious election upsets in 2002, allegedly linked to untraceable vote fraud, could well have set the stage for another November presidential legal conundrum.
This, as certain proprietary software secrets inherent in electronic voting machine technology--supervised in some cases by a criminal element, are engendering a growing public outcry for enforceable paper-trails, properly certified software, but also a complete separation of campaign contributions and private investment ties from those companies that count American votes.
According to Beverly Harris, author of Black Box Voting: Ballot Tampering in the 21st Century, a manipulation technique she found in Diebold Elections Systems AccuVote central vote tabulator is able to read totals from an untraceable bogus vote set within its software.
"By entering a 2-digit code in a hidden location, a second set of votes is created; and this set of votes can be changed in a matter of seconds, so that it no longer matches the correct votes," said the voting activist.
Election industry officials say their voting systems are secure because they are protected by passwords and tamperproof audit logs; but Harris says the passwords can easily be bypassed and the audit logs can be changed--even without the county election supervisor knowing about it.
Covering up vote fraud?
Harris appeared before the California Voting Systems Panel (CVSP) on April 21, 2004, presenting a smoking gun Diebold internal memo proving the company had not corrected Diebolds Global Election Systems (GEMS) software flaws even though it had updated and upgraded the GEMS program. She also showed Democrat Howard Dean how to fraudulently alter the GEMS system on CNBC-TV.
In a convened August 11, 2004 CVSP meeting, member Jim March formally requested a demonstration of the double set of books in GEMS; and while the short 3-minute demonstration had been scheduled, the panel refused to watch it and would not look at Harris presentation.
Curiously, the panel met privately afterwards with Diebold officials--but without informing the public or issuing a report about the potential for vote fraud this fall.
Harris and her associate director Andy Stephenson, along with computer security expert Dr. Hugh Thompson and former King County, Washington elections supervisor Julie Anne Kempf, met with members of CVSP and the California Attorney Generals office to demonstrate the double set of books in the GEMS system.
The Secretary of States office stopped the meeting, called in the general counsel for their office and a defense attorney from the California Attorney Generals office--refusing to allow Harris and Stephenson to videotape their own GEMS demonstration, while also prohibiting any audiotape and specifying that no notes of the meeting could be requested in public records (Freedom of Information Act--F.O.I.A.) requests.
Harris told us that Diebold knew about the problem too--or should have known--because the company issued a "cease and desist" action against her website when she originally reported the problem in 2003. Harris also offered to show the problem to Marvin Singleton, Diebolds damage control expert and other Diebold executives; however she said they refused to look at it.
The state of Maryland commissioned its own report regarding Diebolds system from Science Application International Corporation (SAIC) of California, with Diebold allowing SAIC to examine the system using its touch-screen source code.
Consistent with Black Box Voting assertions of election accuracy risk, SAIC also said the Diebold system was subject to "several high risks of vulnerabilities."
Curiously, Maryland went ahead anyway and purchased $55 million worth of the Diebold electronic touch-screen machines--despite the evidence in their own report.
The states recently hired computer experts have been able to hack the Diebold machines with ease; and they were able to change the vote counts directly on precinct machines--but also by using a modem. Again, these machines count 50% of the presidential vote in 37 states! And there are still no legal challenges regarding the vulnerability of the machines.
In a move with likely far-reaching ramifications for the whole country, the presidential battleground state of Ohio cited the same security risks that Maryland found. But curiously, Ohio also gave its counties the ok to purchase electronic systems, despite the demonstrated ease of vote fraud: Diebold (40 counties), ES&S (11), Hart InterCivic (7), and Sequoia (4). Again, no one has promulgated litigation--despite prior evidence and knowledge of voting security risks.
Stealing a presidential election?
"The Diebold Global Elections System voting software, which runs on a Microsoft Access database, can read election vote totals from a false vote set," says Harris, who added that Diebold purchased Texas-based GEMS in 2002.
GEMS stores the votes in a ledger built in Microsoft Access; but while accounting firms have programs which only allow one set of books, Diebolds GEMS system contained three sets of "books," according to Harris findings.
The Secretary of States office stopped the meeting, called in the general counsel for their office and a defense attorney from the California Attorney Generals office--refusing to allow Harris and Stephenson to videotape their own demonstration
The Founder of Black Box Voting explained further: "The elections official never sees the three sets of books. All that is seen are the reports that can be run, such as election summary (county-wide totals) or a statement of votes cast (totals for each precinct)," adding, "the official has no way of knowing the GEMS system uses a different set of data for the detail report (used to spot-check) than it does for the election totals."
Why? "Because the GEMS interface draws its data from an Access database which is hidden," said Harris, offering further, "On the programs we tested, the Election summary (totals, county-wide) come from the vote ledger 2 instead of vote ledger 1; and ledger 2 can be altered so it may or may not match ledger 1."
Harris continued, "The Access database, which contains the hidden set of votes, cant be seen unless you know how to get in the back door--which takes only seconds. Two sets of books can easily allow fraud to go undetected, especially if the two sets of books (votes) are hidden from the user."
"Using Diebolds GEMS system, one can type in a two-digit code into a hidden location and decouple the books so that the voting system will draw information from a combination of the real votes and a set of fake votes, which can be altered any way one sees fit," she said.
"...Two sets of books can easily allow fraud to go undetected, especially if the two sets of books (votes) are hidden from the user."
Harris expanded her short lesson in potential November vote fraud by revealing, "when you put a two-digit code into a secret location, you can disengage the vote tables, so the tampered totals table doesnt have to match precinct by precinct results. This way, it will pass a spot check--even with paper ballots--but it can still be rigged."
The Black Box founder clarified the issue: "You want the report to add up on the actual votes. But unbeknownst to the election supervisor, votes can be added and subtracted from vote ledger 2. Official reports come from vote ledger 2, which has been disengaged from vote ledger 1. If someone asks for a detailed report for some precincts, though, the report comes from vote ledger 1. Therefore, if you keep the correct votes in vote ledger 1, a spot-check of detailed precincts (even if you compare voter-verified paper ballots) will always be correct.
Harris also deals with the issue of bypassing the passwords: "The manual on Diebolds "ftp" website tells that the default password in a new installation is "GEMSUSER." Anyone who downloaded and installed GEMS can bypass the passwords in elections. One can overwrite the "admin" password with another, copied from another GEMS installation."
She continued: "The password will appear encrypted; no worries, just cut and paste. We saved the old "admin" password so we could replace it later and delete the evidence that wed been there. An intruder can grant himself administrative privileges by putting zeros in the other boxes, following the example in "admin."
According to Black Box Votings website, "(Microsoft) Access encourages those who create audit logs to use auto-numbering, so that every logged entry has an un-editable log number. Then if one deletes audit entries, a gap in the numbering sequence will appear. However, we found that this feature was disabled, allowing us to write in our own log numbers. We were able to add and delete from the audit without leaving a trace."
On August 26, 2004, Beverly Harris wrote that "some locations removed the Microsoft Access software from their GEMS computer, leaving the back door intact, but essentially removing the ability to easily view and edit the file."
"However, you can easily edit the election, with or without Microsoft Access installed on the GEMS computer. As computer security expert Hugh Thompson demonstrated at the August 18, 2004 California Secretary of State meeting, you simply open any text editor, like Notepad, and type a six-line Visual Basic Script, and you own the election," said Harris.
Harris also discussed the issue of hacking the election results on the GEMS central tabulator through telephone lines: "Mohave County, Arizona, for example, has six modems attached to its GEMS computer on election night. King County, Washington state has up to four dozen modems attached at once," she said, adding, "most counties say they do not hook up GEMS to the internet--they remove the disk from the GEMS computer and physically take it to another computer from which the internet feed comes."
But Harris clarifies: "You can access a computer through phone lines as well as through the internet. If you have dial-in number, its possible to get at GEMS computers from anywhere, using RAS. The dial-in protocols are given to poll workers, many people in Diebold have them, lots of temp workers have them, and the configurations have been sitting on the internet for several years."
"We asked who was allowed to access the central tabulator, after it was already turned on, and who is given a password and permission to sit at the terminal," Harris continued, "Several officials told us they dont keep a list. Those who did gave us the names of too many people--county employees, Diebold employees, and county database technicians all get access to GEMS. Print-shops who do the ballots also have some access."
"Whether one votes by absentee ballot, touch-screens or fill-in-the-bubble optical scanning machines, all votes are ultimately brought to the mother ship, the central tabulator at the county level, which adds them up and creates a results report," said Harris.
"The central tabulator is far more vulnerable than the touch-screen terminals," she said, adding, "if you were going to tamper with an election, would you rather tamper with 4,500 individual voting machines, or with just one machine, the central tabulator which receives votes from all the machines in the county."
The accurate vote crusader says "at present, not a single location in the United States has implemented security measures to fully mitigate the risks."
Diebolds GEMS found in most states
Since 1,000+ of Diebolds GEMS software systems are currently used in electronic voting machines in 37 states--each of which will count up to two million votes at once--questions can be raised as to the vulnerability and accuracy of Tuesdays presidential vote tally--let alone Senate, House and local races.
"...if one deletes audit entries, a gap in the numbering sequence will appear. However, we found that this feature was disabled, allowing us to write in our own log numbers. We were able to add and delete from the audit without leaving a trace."
Harris told TomFlocco.com, "Much of this information has been corroborated by formal studies and by 13,000 internal Diebold memos and emails written by the companys own programmers."
The memos were leaked to Harris in September, 2003, revealing that a top Diebold engineer had been aware of security flaws for a lengthy period of time.
Andy Stephenson visited the Washington state attorney generals office in February, 2004 to inform them of the problem; but nothing has been done to inform that states election officials, and safeguards have not been implemented.
"At present, not a single location in the United States has implemented security measures to fully mitigate the risks."
Interestingly, Governor Arnold Swarzenegger (R-CA) recently froze funds allocated by Secretary of State Kevin Shelley which would have paid for increased scrutiny of the voting system in California, according to Harris.
Early warnings of national vote fraud
At the outset of her crusade, Beverly Harris said she was intrigued by an article written by freelance investigative reporter Lynn Landes which said direct-recording electronic voting systems (DREs) had become hot, but also highly profitable commodities in the wake of the controversial 2000 presidential vote recount in Florida and the push for chad-free elections, according to Vanity Fair (April, 2004).
The vote activist thought Landes DRE findings were troubling; and after some research, Harris found a disturbing pattern of Republican election upsets as well as instances of malfunctioning software and machines related to certain brands.
The Vanity Fair piece recounts a series of curious Senate races which Harris questioned as highly suspicious:
1. In the fall of 2002, Georgia became the first state to replace all its voting machines with DRE electronic models. A poll by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution put Democratic Senate incumbent Max Cleland five points ahead of his Republican challenger Saxby Chambliss--just two days before the election. Chambliss won by 7 percent--a 12-point shift in 48 hours!
Rob Behler, a short-term Diebold employee from the ABSS Temp firm, shared some staggering inside information about the 2002 Georgia election to Beverly Harris in a phone interview ( "Georgia--on California's mind" )
2. In another 2002 senate race, Minnesota Democrat Walter Mondale led in two of three polls on election day in a state using many optical scanning electronic voting machines where paper ballots are read and recorded electronically. But Republican Norm Coleman won by 3 percent that day.
3. Colorado Republican senate incumbent Wayne Allard was running neck and neck with Democrat Tom Strickland in 2002, but won by 5 percent on election day--helping to turn power of the U.S. Senate, all committee chairmanships and control of the Americas political agenda over to Republicans.
4. Seven Republicans competed for a vacant state representative seat in the spring of 2004 when Connie Mack IV resigned to run for Congress. Nebraskas Election Systems & Software (ES&S) touch-screen electronic voting machines were used by the county to tally the votes. 10,000 Broward citizens signed in at the polls; but the electronic touch-screen voting machines indicated that 134 of them failed to vote after showing up at the polls to sign in. This is important because the individual who came in second in the race only lost by 12 votes! Floridas touch-screen machines have no paper trail, so there was no way to facilitate a recount to validate the election. Case closed. 134 votes just turned up missing.
5. In November, 2002 Democratic governor Roy Barnes lost to Republican challenger Sonny Perdue--the first time in 134 years that a Republican had won the governors seat. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll had shown Barnes leading Perdue by 11 points just two days before the election: a 11%+ shift in 48 hours! Another victory for electronic touch-screen machines?
"...you can easily edit the election, with or without Microsoft Access installed on the GEMS computer. As computer security expert Hugh Thompson demonstrated at the August 18, 2004 California Secretary of State meeting, you simply open any text editor, like Notepad, and type a six-line Visual Basic Script, and you own the election," said Harris.
Vanity Fair said Diebold wiped clean the machines used to tally Georgias upset votes, raising questions as to whether the company was covering up evidence of election tampering. But no one complained or brought litigation to subpoena either public testimony or evidence.
Such examples indicate a serious omen for the Bush-Kerry election--not to mention critical senate, house and gubernatorial races; and this time Democrats may not roll over and concede so easily "for the good of the country" if President Bush is reelected to a second term--given the 2000 Florida recount fiasco and Supreme Court litigation.
Thieves, thieves -- tramps and thieves?
Harris traced the implementation of the double set of books to October 13, 2000, not long after embezzler Jeffrey Dean became Diebolds senior programmer. Dean was hired as Vice President of Research and Development in September, 2000, adding that Deans access to the companys programs is well documented through internal memos from Diebold.
Immediately after Dean joined Diebold, according to corporate memos, another Diebold programmer, Dmitri Papushin, flagged bogus votes appearing in vote tables; but after a dozen changes before the November 2000 election, all the changes retained the new hidden vote tables! And this has continued up to the present, according to Harris, who says anyone can use or sell the information.
BlackBoxVoting.orgs associate director Andy Stephenson obtained the court records of Jeffrey Dean which noted that the King County, Washington prosecutor was after him for over $500,000 in restitution.
10,000 Broward citizens signed in at the polls; but the electronic touch-screen voting machines indicated that 134 of them failed to vote after showing up at the polls to sign in. Floridas touch-screen voting machines have no paper trail, so there was no way to facilitate a recount to validate the election.
Dean told prosecutors (whose offices were on the ninth floor of the King County courthouse) that he was unemployed, when in fact he was working for Diebold who afforded him with 24-hour access to Diebolds King County. Washington GEMS central tabulator, according to Stephenson. (Dean worked on the GEMS tabulator on the fifth floor of the same King County courthouse!)
Unfortunately, New York Attorney General Elliott Spitzer is not employed by the state of Washington.
Stephenson says that Jeffrey Dean (by his own admission) is subject to blackmail; but more critically, his embezzlement charges in the police record indicate he was involved in " sophisticated manipulation of computer accounting records," and that "he was embezzling in order to pay blackmail over a fight he was involved in, in which a person died."
"So now we have someone whos admitted that hes been blackmailed over killing someone, who pleaded guilty to 23 counts of embezzlement, who is given the position of senior programmer of the (Diebold) GEMS central tabulator system that counts approximately 50 cercent of the votes in the (Bush-Kerry) election, in 30 states, both paper ballot and touch screen," said Stephenson.
Harris and Stephenson talked to Jeffrey Deans partners and others who worked with the embezzler: "we got descriptions such as sophisticated, cunning, very bright, highly skilled and a con man, " the two said.
The Diebold internal memos leaked to Harris and Stephenson also revealed that "Dean was sent the passwords to the GEMS 1.18x files months after Diebold took over the election company. Diebold clearly did not examine the GEMS program before selling it, or, if it did, chose not to correct the flaws. And after exposing this problem in 2003, Diebold still failed to correct it," according to both activists.
Before Diebold purchased Texas-base GEMS, one of its directors, Michael K. Graye, was arrested in 1996 in Canada on tax-fraud and money-laundering charges that involved $18 million; but before he was sentenced, the U.S. indicted him for stock fraud, after which he spent 18 months in Canadian and U.S. prisons before pleading guilty to tax fraud in Canada, according to Vanity Fair.
Harris found out that Jeffrey Deans friend John Elder--a convicted cocaine trafficker who served nearly five years in the same prison where Dean was incarcerated--joined Dean at Diebolds GEMS operation not long after Dean signed on with the company.
"So now we have someone whos admitted that hes been blackmailed over killing someone, who pleaded guilty to 23 counts of embezzlement, who is given the position of senior programmer of the (Diebold) GEMS central tabulator system that counts approximately 50 cercent of the votes in the (Bush-Kerry) election, in 30 states, both paper ballot and touch screen," said Stephenson.
Diebolds newest ex-con came aboard to oversee the printing of paper ballots and punch cards produced for elections in several states; and Dean had by this time become a consultant.
Diebold says Dean is no longer with the company; but as of April, 2004, John Elder remains with Diebold as manager of the companys printed-products division.
Good men coming to the aid of their party?
Diebold Election Systems, based in the key battleground state of Ohio, is headed by Chairman and CEO Walden ODell, a George W. Bush pioneer, raising more that $100,000 for Dubyas election war chest.
Wide reports also reveal that ODell helped organize and raise $600,000 for Bush-Cheney 2004 at a fund-raiser attended by the Vice-President on June 30, 2003. Shortly thereafter, the Diebold CEO sent a letter to Ohio Republicans, reiterating his commitment to "help Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year."
In 2001 and 2002, Diebold, Inc. gave nearly $100,000 to the Republican National Committee and zero to the Democrats. This, while Diebold director W. R. Timken Jr. raised $200,000 for Bush-Cheney and 11 other Diebold executives gave added $22,000 to Timkens beneficence--according to the New York Times. Thats over $1 million from Diebold to Republicans--if anyone is counting.
We ran into Harvard computer scientist and acknowledged electronic vote expert Rebecca Mercuri at a presentation in Philadelphia last year. Mercuri was adamant about making secret proprietary software available for public inspection since "the country has so much riding on an honest vote count."
Mercuri added that all e-voting machine companies refuse to open up their software for public viewing, while the certification of their machines is also kept secret. When combined with substantial campaign contributions to one party by a company that counts 50% of the votes in 37 states, many citizens could ask whether a fix could be in for November 2--especially if the vote is as close as expected.
If the polls keep certifying the presidential race as deadlocked, it would follow that Americans may likely be more inclined to accept a close win by either Bush or Kerry--say 51-52% to 49-48%--despite clear evidence of possible vote fraud.
Elections Systems and Software (ES&S), a Nebraska-based touch-screen company whose machines counted the Spring, 2004 Broward-Palm Beach primary election which could not account for 134 missing votes in a race won by only 12 tallies, used to be American Information Systems (AIS) whose former chairman was none other that current two-term Republican U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel.
Hagel won a surprise victory--one of the countrys major 1996 upsets for the Republican party; but curiously, his AIS electronic optical-scan machines counted some 85% of the votes in his senate race--what some would consider an outrageous conflict of interest.
Vanity Fair said throughout his first senate term, Hagel retained an indirect investment of at least $1 million in AIS through the McCarthy Group; but since AIS became ES&S, McCarthy kept its minority interest in the newly named company, and Senator Hagel still has his share in the McCarthy Group.
In another incredible conflict of interest, if not bravado, McCarthys chairman, Michael McCarthy, also served as Hagels treasurer in his 2002 U.S. Senate re-election as Congress looked the other way, permitting Hagels campaign treasurer to own the company which counted most of Senator Hagels electi0on votes!
Some would consider it strange that both GEMS and Austin-based Hart InterCivic are both based in the Lone Star state. But not when one considers that Hart is backed by wealthy Republican Texas investor Tom Hicks of Stratford Capital Partners.
Hicks primary investment company Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst coordinated the 1998 purchase of Major League Baseballs Texas Rangers from George W. Bush and his partners, in which Dubya pocketed a $14.9 million profit from his original but controversial $1 million Harken Energy stock sale just days before Gulf War I hostilities commenced.
A common thread running through most electronic voting machine companies seems to be total and all-out secrecy regarding software--despite multiple protective U.S. intellectual property laws, but also large financial contributions to the Republican Party--from backers, owners--and a U.S. senator tied to the same e-voting corporations.
But no one ever institutes litigation to test the laws regarding political conflicts of interest related to holding public office while retaining a financial interest in the company which counts the candidate's votes. How is it that U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) is permitted to hold office--encumbered with such a brazen conflict?
Beverly Harris offers some final thoughts as to what the American people might expect during the 2004 Bush-Kerry election: "We found that you can melt down an election is six seconds, simply by using the menu items in GEMS. You can destroy all data with two mouse clicks, and with four mouse clicks, you can destroy the configuration of the election, making it very difficult to reload the original data."
"According to testimony given before the Cuyahoga Elections Board, the Microsoft Access database design used by Diebolds GEMS program apparently becomes unstable with high volume output. This problem, according to Diebold, resulted in thousands of votes being allocated to the wrong candidate in San Diego County in March, 2004.
For her part, the Founder of Black Box Voting warns candidates: "Dont concede the election. Make a statement about voting without auditing. Hold off on your concession until the canvass is done. Wait until audits and records can be examined. If your county melts down into litigation, hold officials accountable if they chose to ignore warning and failed to mitigate risks with preventive actions--like disconnecting all telephone modems."
Harris warns election officials: "Disconnect those modems NOW. If you dont. You have to be replaced." For reporters: "Some election officials will lie to you. Show your kids what bravery looks like. Be courageous. Report the truth."
As public awareness and more knowledge generates increased activism during November--perhaps in the form of multiple protracted lawsuits, the American people may ultimately ask to go "home where we belong," i.e. elections with carefully certified and audited paper ballot trails.
A dishonest, fraudulent election is nothing more than a coup d' etat--a non-violent overthrow of the United States government. Traceable, certifiable paper ballots are much safer and will cost far less in the long run when an election necessitates a vote recount. But dare we vote on it first?
Beverly Harris and Andy Stephenson may be contacted at
US Deploys Space Satellite
By Jim Wolf
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Air Force quietly has put into service a new weapon designed to jam enemy satellite communications, a significant step toward U.S. control of space.
The so-called Counter Communications System was declared operational late last month at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, the Air Force Space Command said Friday in e-mailed replies to questions from Reuters.
Voters Claim Abuse
Of Electoral Rolls
By Greg Palast in New York
The Observer - UK
Was Bush Wired? Sure Looks
A photo of President Bush's back from the third presidential debate, enhanced by NASA scientist Robert M. Nelson.
Click to see enhanced photos from all three debates
A NASA photo expert's analysis makes it clear: Bush is lying -- he wore some kind of device in each of the three debates. So why won't the media go near this story?
By Dave Lindorff
October 30, 2004
Gov't Urges Increased Vigilance In Wake Of Bin Laden Tape
WASHINGTON (AP) -- In the wake of a new videotape from Osama bin Laden, a federal bulletin is urging state and local authorities to be extra vigilant ahead of Tuesday's elections. The government says the videotape and a second video showing a self-proclaimed American member of al-Qaida are "clearly intended to influence and instill fear in the American people." The bulletin says the government remains concerned about al-Qaida's interest in attacking the U-S, and that the video may be intended to promote violence or serve as a signal for an attack. The bulletin has been sent to homeland security advisers, state and local police and select members of the private industry. It says intelligence agencies continue to analyze the tapes.
BEIJING, Oct. 30, 2004 (Xinhuanet) -- China's oil giant Sinopec Group has signed a $70 billion oil and natural gas agreement with Iran, which is China's biggest energy deal with the No. 2 OPEC producer. Under a memorandum of understanding signed Thursday, Sinopec Group will buy 250 million tons of liquefied natural gas over 30 years from Iran and develop the giant Yadavaran field. Iran is also committed to export 150,000 barrels per day of crude oil to China for 25 years at market prices after commissioning of the field. Iran's oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh, who is on a two-day visit to Beijing pursuing closer ties, said Iran is China's biggest oil supplier and wants to be its long-term business partner. Official figures show that China imported 226 million tons of oil in2003, about 13 percent of which coming from Iran. Beijing expects to secure foreign energy supplies by the deals for its economy, which has turned China into a major oil importer but suffers severe power shortages.
Oct 30, 2004
Bin Laden: U.S. Can Avoid Another Attack
By MAGGIE MICHAEL
Associated Press Writer
CAIRO, Egypt (AP) -- Osama bin Laden, publicly injecting himself into the campaign four days ahead of the presidential election, said in a videotape aired Friday that the United States can avoid another Sept. 11 attack if it stops threatening the security of Muslims.
In the portion of the tape that was broadcast, the al-Qaida leader refrained from directly warning of new attacks, although he said "there are still reasons to repeat what happened."
"Your security is not in the hands of Kerry, Bush or al-Qaida. Your security is in your own hands," bin Laden said, referring to the president and his Democratic opponent. "Any state that does not mess with our security has naturally guaranteed its own security."
Admitting for the first time that he ordered the Sept. 11 attacks, bin Laden said he did so because of injustices against the Lebanese and Palestinians by Israel and the United States.
In what appeared to be conciliatory language, bin Laden said he wanted to explain why he ordered the suicide airline hijackings that hit the World Trade Center and the Pentagon so Americans would know how to act to prevent another attack.
"To the American people, my talk to you is about the best way to avoid another Manhattan," he said. "I tell you: Security is an important element of human life and, free people do not give up their security."
After the video was aired, President Bush said that "Americans will not be intimidated" by bin Laden. Sen. John Kerry criticized Bush for failing to capture bin Laden earlier and said that "I can run a more effective war on terror."
The political impact of the tape could cut both ways. It bolsters Bush's argument that the world is a dangerous place and plays to his strength as commander in chief in fighting the war on terror, but it also underscores that his administration has failed to capture or kill America's No. 1 enemy more than three years after the terror attacks on New York and Washington.
Bin Laden Says He Ordered 9/11 Attacks
It was the first footage in more than a year of the fugitive al-Qaida leader, thought to be hiding in the mountains along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. The video, broadcast on Al-Jazeera television, showed bin Laden with a long, gray beard, wearing traditional white robes, a turban and a golden cloak, standing behind a table with papers and in front of a plain, brown curtain.
His hands were steady and he appeared healthy.
The Bush administration said it believes the videotape is authentic and was made recently, noting that bin Laden referred to 1,000 U.S. military deaths in Iraq - which happened in early September.
White House press secretary Scott McClellan said the administration did not plan to raise the nation's threat level for now. The U.S. official said the 18-minute tape - which carries English subtitles, though not in the portion shown on Al-Jazeera - lacks an explicit threat and repeats well-worn themes.
Al-Jazeera, which is based in Qatar, broadcast about seven minutes of the tape. The station's spokesman, Jihad Ali Ballout, said Al-Jazeera aired what was "newsworthy and relevant" and refused to describe the unaired portions, including whether they included any threats. Ballout said the station received the tape Friday but would not say how.
Before the tape was aired, the State Department asked the government of Qatar to discourage Al-Jazeera from broadcasting it, a senior State Department official said.
In the video, bin Laden accused Bush of misleading Americans by saying the attack was carried out because al-Qaida members "hate freedom." The terrorist leader said his followers have left alone countries that do not threaten Muslims.
"We fought you because we are free ... and want to regain freedom for our nation. As you undermine our security we undermine yours," bin Laden said.
He said he was first inspired to attack the United States by the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon in which towers and buildings in Beirut were destroyed in the siege of the capital.
"While I was looking at these destroyed towers in Lebanon, it sparked in my mind that the tyrant should be punished with the same and that we should destroy towers in America, so that it tastes what we taste and would be deterred from killing our children and women," he said.
"God knows that it had not occurred to our mind to attack the towers, but after our patience ran out and we saw the injustice and inflexibility of the American-Israeli alliance toward our people in Palestine and Lebanon, this came to my mind," he said.
Bin Laden suggested Bush was slow to react to the Sept. 11 attacks, giving the hijackers more time than they expected. At the time of the attacks, the president was listening to schoolchildren in Florida reading a book.
"It never occurred to us that the commander in chief of the American armed forces would leave 50,000 of his citizens in the two towers to face these horrors alone," he said, referring to the number of people who worked at the World Trade Center.
"It appeared to him (Bush) that a little girl's talk about her goat and its butting was more important than the planes and their butting of the skyscrapers. That gave us three times the required time to carry out the operations, thank God," he said.
Excluding the hijackers, the Sept. 11 attacks killed 2,749 people at the World Trade Center, 184 at the Pentagon and 40 in Pennsylvania.
In planning the attacks, bin Laden said he told Mohammed Atta, one of the hijackers, that the strikes had to be carried out "within 20 minutes before Bush and his administration noticed."
Bin Laden compared the Bush administration to repressive Arab regimes, "half of which are ruled by the military and the other half are ruled by the sons of kings and presidents."
He said the resemblance became clear when Bush's father was president and visited Arab countries.
"He wound up being impressed by the royal and military regimes and envied them for staying decades in their positions and embezzling the nation's money with no supervision," bin Laden said.
"He passed on tyranny and oppression to his son, and they called it the Patriot Act, under the pretext of fighting terror. Bush the father did well in placing his sons as governors and did not forget to pass on the expertise in fraud from the leaders of the (Mideast) region to Florida to use it in critical moments."
The image of bin Laden reading a statement was dramatically different from the few other videos of the al-Qaida leader that have emerged since the Sept. 11 attacks.
In the last videotape, issued Sept. 10, 2003, bin Laden is seen walking through rocky terrain with his top deputy Ayman al-Zawahri, both carrying automatic rifles. In a taped message issued at the same time, bin Laden praises the "great damage to the enemy" on Sept. 11 and mentions five hijackers by name.
In December 2001, the Pentagon released a videotape in which bin Laden is shown at a dinner with associates in Afghanistan on Nov. 9, 2001, saying the destruction of the Sept. 11 attacks exceeded even his "optimistic" calculations.
But in none of his previous messages, audio or video, did bin Laden directly state that he ordered the attacks.
U.S. authorities have long said they believe bin Laden is hiding in a rugged, mountainous tribal region of Pakistan that borders Afghanistan, but there has been no firm evidence of his whereabouts for three years.
The last audiotape purportedly from bin Laden came in April. The speaker on the tape, which CIA analysts said likely was the al-Qaida leader, offered a truce to European nations if they pull troops out of Muslim countries. The tape referred to the March 22 assassination by Israel of Hamas founder Sheik Ahmed Yassin.
U.S. Says Bin Laden Tape
Fri Oct 29, 2004
By KATHERINE PFLEGER SHRADER, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON - Government officials believe the tape of Osama bin Laden aired Friday was made recently and are trying to determine whether its release now may be a signal of an impending attack.
Intelligence experts have determined the tape "lacks what we assess to be an explicit threat and reiterates well-worn themes," said one U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Yet many U.S. intelligence analysts and law enforcement officials have been warning that a message from bin Laden might signal an attack. A government official, who has been briefed on current threat intelligence, said that all the attack scenarios considered by government analysts include such a message.
"The one piece they were waiting for is some kind of bin Laden videotape. And now they've got it," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. "This has everybody on edge."
The administration, however, did not plan to raise the nation's threat level for now, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said. Most of the country has been at yellow alert, the middle of the government's five-point warning scale, for the bulk of the year.
All officials cautioned that the tape was still being studied.
Analysts have been able to determine with a "high degree of confidence" that the voice and image on the 18-minute tape parts of it aired by al-Jazeera are of bin Laden, the U.S. official said.
Among indications that the video was made recently, the U.S. official noted that bin Laden mentions that it's been three years since Sept. 11, 2001, and that U.S. deaths in Iraq have reached 1,000.
That milestone was reached in early September.
At the beginning of the video, there is also text that attributes the video to al-Sahab for Media Production, al-Qaida's media committee, and says it was made 10 Ramadan, or last Sunday. However, experts analyzing the tape cannot confirm that precise dating, the U.S. official said.
This video is of further interest to analysts because it has English subtitles a first for bin Laden. "We are still really early in our analysis, and we are proceeding with caution," the U.S. official said.
Nothing about bin Laden's health or appearance has jumped out yet, the U.S. official added. However, the official noted, if you compare it to the last known time bin Laden could be seen speaking on video in December 2001 he looks a little thinner.
The tape sparked a flurry of U.S. government meetings Friday evening as officials assessed the tape and what action to take.
A U.S. senior law enforcement official, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said the tape was being scrutinized by a special FBI task force formed to disrupt a potential attack timed to coincide with the U.S. election campaign.
The FBI and other counterterrorism agencies are especially interested in finding any hidden messages or other clues that might signal an al-Qaida attack, the official said.
The FBI also is comparing the tape to one that was aired by ABC Thursday evening in which an unidentified, disguised man claiming to be an American threatens more attacks against the United States.
Before the bin Laden tape was aired, the State Department urged the government of Qatar not to broadcast it, a senior State Department official said. Qatar helped al-Jazeera launch in 1996 with a $150 million loan, but the news network has since claimed full independence.
The U.S. reasoning was that the satellite television network should not give a platform to someone who runs terrorist operations and promotes terrorist activities, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Al-Jazeera defended its decision to air the tape, saying no one could question its news value. Spokesman Jihad Ali Ballout said the station received the tape Friday but would not say how.
Bruce Hoffman, a terrorism expert at the RAND think tank, said the timing of the tape is "exquisite" because it allows bin Laden to elbow himself into the limelight of the presidential election.
Hoffman, however, doesn't think the message is intended to sway the outcome, but rather U.S. policy. "He is the sworn enemy of whoever is elected president," Hoffman said.
Oct. 29, 2004
Following is the full English transcript of Usama bin Ladin's speech in a videotape sent to Aljazeera. In the interests of authenticity, the content of the transcript, which appeared as subtitles at the foot of the screen, has been left unedited.
Praise be to Allah who created the creation for his worship and commanded them to be just and permitted the wronged one to retaliate against the oppressor in kind. To proceed:
Peace be upon he who
follows the guidance: People of America this talk of mine is for
you and concerns the ideal way to prevent another Manhattan, and
deals with the war and its causes and results.
Before I begin, I say to you that security is an indispensable pillar of human life and that free men do not forfeit their security, contrary to Bush's claim that we hate freedom.
If so, then let him
explain to us why we don't strike for example - Sweden? And
we know that freedom-haters don't possess defiant spirits like
those of the 19 - may Allah have mercy on them.
No, we fight because we are free men who don't sleep under oppression. We want to restore freedom to our nation, just as you lay waste to our nation. So shall we lay waste to yours.
No one except a dumb thief plays with the security of others and then makes himself believe he will be secure. Whereas thinking people, when disaster strikes, make it their priority to look for its causes, in order to prevent it happening again.
But I am amazed at you. Even though we are in the fourth year after the events of September 11th, Bush is still engaged in distortion, deception and hiding from you the real causes. And thus, the reasons are still there for a repeat of what occurred.
So I shall talk to you about the story behind those events and shall tell you truthfully about the moments in which the decision was taken, for you to consider.
I say to you, Allah knows
that it had never occurred to us to strike the towers. But after
it became unbearable and we witnessed the oppression and tyranny
of the American/Israeli coalition against our people in Palestine
and Lebanon, it came to my mind.
The events that affected my soul in a direct way started in 1982 when America permitted the Israelis to invade Lebanon and the American Sixth Fleet helped them in that. This bombardment began and many were killed and injured and others were terrorised and displaced.
I couldn't forget those moving scenes, blood and severed limbs, women and children sprawled everywhere. Houses destroyed along with their occupants and high rises demolished over their residents, rockets raining down on our home without mercy.
The situation was like a crocodile meeting a helpless child, powerless except for his screams. Does the crocodile understand a conversation that doesn't include a weapon? And the whole world saw and heard but it didn't respond.
In those difficult moments many hard-to-describe ideas bubbled in my soul, but in the end they produced an intense feeling of rejection of tyranny, and gave birth to a strong resolve to punish the oppressors.
And as I looked at those demolished towers in Lebanon, it entered my mind that we should punish the oppressor in kind and that we should destroy towers in America in order that they taste some of what we tasted and so that they be deterred from killing our women and children.
And that day, it was confirmed to me that oppression and the intentional killing of innocent women and children is a deliberate American policy. Destruction is freedom and democracy, while resistance is terrorism and intolerance.
This means the oppressing and embargoing to death of millions as Bush Sr did in Iraq in the greatest mass slaughter of children mankind has ever known, and it means the throwing of millions of pounds of bombs and explosives at millions of children - also in Iraq - as Bush Jr did, in order to remove an old agent and replace him with a new puppet to assist in the pilfering of Iraq's oil and other outrages.
So with these images and their like as their background, the events of September 11th came as a reply to those great wrongs, should a man be blamed for defending his sanctuary?
Is defending oneself and punishing the aggressor in kind, objectionable terrorism? If it is such, then it is unavoidable for us.
This is the message which I sought to communicate to you in word and deed, repeatedly, for years before September 11th.
And you can read this, if you wish, in my interview with Scott in Time Magazine in 1996, or with Peter Arnett on CNN in 1997, or my meeting with John Weiner in 1998.
You can observe it
practically, if you wish, in Kenya and Tanzania and in Aden. And
you can read it in my interview with Abdul Bari Atwan, as well as
my interviews with Robert Fisk.
The latter is one of your compatriots and co-religionists and I consider him to be neutral. So are the pretenders of freedom at the White House and the channels controlled by them able to run an interview with him? So that he may relay to the American people what he has understood from us to be the reasons for our fight against you?
If you were to avoid these
reasons, you will have taken the correct path that will lead
America to the security that it was in before September 11th.
This concerned the causes of the war.
As for it's results, they have been, by the grace of Allah, positive and enormous, and have, by all standards, exceeded all expectations. This is due to many factors, chief among them, that we have found it difficult to deal with the Bush administration in light of the resemblance it bears to the regimes in our countries, half of which are ruled by the military and the other half which are ruled by the sons of kings and presidents.
Our experience with them
is lengthy, and both types are replete with those who are
characterised by pride, arrogance, greed and misappropriation of
wealth. This resemblance began after the visits of Bush Sr to the
At a time when some of our compatriots were dazzled by America and hoping that these visits would have an effect on our countries, all of a sudden he was affected by those monarchies and military regimes, and became envious of their remaining decades in their positions, to embezzle the public wealth of the nation without supervision or accounting.
So he took dictatorship and suppression of freedoms to his son and they named it the Patriot Act, under the pretence of fighting terrorism. In addition, Bush sanctioned the installing of sons as state governors, and didn't forget to import expertise in election fraud from the region's presidents to Florida to be made use of in moments of difficulty.
All that we have mentioned has made it easy for us to provoke and bait this administration. All that we have to do is to send two mujahidin to the furthest point east to raise a piece of cloth on which is written al-Qaida, in order to make the generals race there to cause America to suffer human, economic, and political losses without their achieving for it anything of note other than some benefits for their private companies.
This is in addition to our
having experience in using guerrilla warfare and the war of
attrition to fight tyrannical superpowers, as we, alongside the
mujahidin, bled Russia for 10 years, until it went bankrupt and
was forced to withdraw in defeat.
All Praise is due to Allah.
So we are continuing this policy in bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy. Allah willing, and nothing is too great for Allah.
That being said, those who say that al-Qaida has won against the administration in the White House or that the administration has lost in this war have not been precise, because when one scrutinises the results, one cannot say that al-Qaida is the sole factor in achieving those spectacular gains.
Rather, the policy of the
White House that demands the opening of war fronts to keep busy
their various corporations - whether they be working in the
field of arms or oil or reconstruction - has helped al-Qaida
to achieve these enormous results.
And so it has appeared to some analysts and diplomats that the White House and us are playing as one team towards the economic goals of the United States, even if the intentions differ.
And it was to these sorts of notions and their like that the British diplomat and others were referring in their lectures at the Royal Institute of International Affairs. [When they pointed out that] for example, al-Qaida spent $500,000 on the event, while America, in the incident and its aftermath, lost - according to the lowest estimate - more than $500 billion.
Meaning that every dollar of al-Qaida defeated a million dollars by the permission of Allah, besides the loss of a huge number of jobs.
As for the size of the
economic deficit, it has reached record astronomical numbers
estimated to total more than a trillion dollars.
And even more dangerous and bitter for America is that the mujahidin recently forced Bush to resort to emergency funds to continue the fight in Afghanistan and Iraq, which is evidence of the success of the bleed-until-bankruptcy plan - with Allah's permission.
It is true that this shows that al-Qaida has gained, but on the other hand, it shows that the Bush administration has also gained, something of which anyone who looks at the size of the contracts acquired by the shady Bush administration-linked mega-corporations, like Halliburton and its kind, will be convinced. And it all shows that the real loser is ... you.
It is the American people
and their economy. And for the record, we had agreed with the
Commander-General Muhammad Ataa, Allah have mercy on him, that
all the operations should be carried out within 20 minutes,
before Bush and his administration notice.
It never occurred to us that the commander-in-chief of the American armed forces would abandon 50,000 of his citizens in the twin towers to face those great horrors alone, the time when they most needed him.
But because it seemed to him that occupying himself by talking to the little girl about the goat and its butting was more important than occupying himself with the planes and their butting of the skyscrapers, we were given three times the period required to execute the operations - all praise is due to Allah.
And it's no secret to you that the thinkers and perceptive ones from among the Americans warned Bush before the war and told him: "All that you want for securing America and removing the weapons of mass destruction - assuming they exist - is available to you, and the nations of the world are with you in the inspections, and it is in the interest of America that it not be thrust into an unjustified war with an unknown outcome."
But the darkness of the
black gold blurred his vision and insight, and he gave priority
to private interests over the public interests of America.
So the war went ahead, the death toll rose, the American economy bled, and Bush became embroiled in the swamps of Iraq that threaten his future. He fits the saying "like the naughty she-goat who used her hoof to dig up a knife from under the earth".
So I say to you, over 15,000
of our people have been killed and tens of thousands injured,
while more than a thousand of you have been killed and more than
10,000 injured. And Bush's hands are stained with the blood of
all those killed from both sides, all for the sake of oil and
keeping their private companies in business.
Be aware that it is the nation who punishes the weak man when he causes the killing of one of its citizens for money, while letting the powerful one get off, when he causes the killing of more than 1000 of its sons, also for money.
And the same goes for your allies in Palestine. They terrorise the women and children, and kill and capture the men as they lie sleeping with their families on the mattresses, that you may recall that for every action, there is a reaction.
Finally, it behoves you to
reflect on the last wills and testaments of the thousands who
left you on the 11th as they gestured in despair. They are
important testaments, which should be studied and researched.
Among the most important of what I read in them was some prose in their gestures before the collapse, where they say: "How mistaken we were to have allowed the White House to implement its aggressive foreign policies against the weak without supervision."
It is as if they were telling you, the people of America: "Hold to account those who have caused us to be killed, and happy is he who learns from others' mistakes."
And among that which I
read in their gestures is a verse of poetry. "Injustice
chases its people, and how unhealthy the bed of tyranny."
As has been said: "An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure."
And know that: "It is better to return to the truth than persist in error." And that the wise man doesn't squander his security, wealth and children for the sake of the liar in the White House.
In conclusion, I tell you
in truth, that your security is not in the hands of Kerry, nor
Bush, nor al-Qaida. No.
Your security is in your own hands. And every state that doesn't play with our security has automatically guaranteed its own security.
And Allah is our Guardian and Helper, while you have no Guardian or Helper. All peace be upon he who follows the Guidance.
Suicide attackers "ready
to strike" Russia
Fri 29 October, 2004 16:49
By Sonia Oxley
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's security service chief says that more than 80 suicide attackers have been trained abroad to attack the country, which he says has no adequate system of dealing with terrorism.
FSB security service head Nikolai Patrushev said Russia needed new ways of preventing terrorism. Prosecutor General Vladimir Ustinov suggested that taking hostages among relatives of those carrying out attacks might help to stop them.
"We have established there are more than 80 suicide attackers trained abroad who are to be sent to Russia to carry out terrorist acts," Patrushev told the State Duma lower house of parliament.
"We don't know what route they might take to get into Russia, and this creates definite problems," he said during a session to debate security after last month's Beslan school siege, in which more than 330 hostages died.
However, some of the attackers had been "rendered harmless," Patrushev added. He gave no indication how the FSB gathered the information on the potential attackers.
Oct 29, 2004
Americans in Qatar Cautioned to Be Alert
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Americans in Qatar, an Arab country aligned with the United States against terrorists, were advised Friday by the U.S. Embassy to be watchful for their safety.
A message distributed among U.S. citizens suggested staying away from major hotels next week in the capital, Doha, and expressed confidence Qatari authorities were doing everything they could to protect Americans against terror attacks.
"There also is a solid level of cooperation between our two governments in combating terrorism around the world," the State Department said in quoting from the message.
ISLAMABAD, October 30,
2004: Security agencies and police are still sceptical with
reference to mysterious explosion took place in Marriott, a five
star hotel on Thursday night.
Well-placed sources informed that short-circuiting was not cause of blast and it was caused due to device placed in laptop computer.
Security agencies are striving to locate the whereabouts of the man who left laptop computer.
The owner of the hotel had requested the higher authorities to mention the blast as bomb blast and it may be named as short circuit explosion.
In the report furnished to interior ministry it was said that a person holding laptop computer entered into the hotel. He handed over the lap tap to a member of hotel administration near lobby and took receipt from him. Later the man disappeared under the pretext of bathing in swimming pool. Sometimes late the incident took place.
Sources told that the explosion occurred due to bomb blast.
Following the explosion, the security personnel of US embassy in Pakistan shifted the US defence delegation staying in the hotel to some unknown site.
US embassy declaring the hotel unsafe had directed the US nationals to avoid staying in the hotel.
Meanwhile, Cabinet Ministers Friday termed the blast that rocked Islamabad Marriott on Thursday night as 'short circuiting'.
Responding to the opposition 's criticism, Health Minister Nasir Khan and minister of state for interior Senator Shahzad Wasim dubbed the blast as 'merely short circuiting' and accused Media of 'misreporting'.
Opposition members were critical of growing lawlessness and demanded that national consensus should be evolved to jointly counter acts of terrorism.
Rising on a point of order, PPP 's parliamentary leader Mian Raza Rabbani said Marriott hotel is situated closer to the ministers' colony, Presidency, Secretariat, Parliament House and other sensitive points.
He said there is confusion as Media is portraying the incident as bomb blast, while government is dubbing it as 'short circuiting'.
He regretted that blast occurred despite security in and around the hotel on high alert.
Raza deplored that foreigners were also injured in the blast. He said it is a pity that information minister 'misinformed' the people by claiming that no foreign national was injured.
PPP leader accused the government of concealing facts and misinforming people. He condemned act of terrorism and stressed that Gen. Musharraf alone couldn't fight against terrorism.
He stressed that national consensus should be evolved so that the nation May wage joint war on terror.
Hidayat Ullah Shah of the MMA also accused the government of harassment of the masses by giving wrong information about the incident. He demanded a probe to unmask conspiracy.
ISLAMABAD, October 29,
2004: A blast that occurred in the Marriott hotel killed one and
left at over ten people injured including four foreigners at 9:35
pm at the entrance to the hotel on Thursday, sources said.
The incident took place in the lobby of Marriott hotel situated near Parliament House. Guests at the hotel including foreigners had gathered for dinner when the explosion occurred. The impact of the blast was so forceful that it broke the windowpanes of the lobby, said the eyewitnesses.
The incident created panic among the guests and a stampede was witnessed in the affected hotel.
An injured victim succumbed to his injuries when he was being rushed to the nearest hospital while five others including three employees of the hotel and one -Italian, who was identified as Attinom Assiho sustained critical injuries and is admitted in polyclinic hospital Islamabad while the four others including two foreigners were admitted in Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS).
Pakistani injured were later identified as Nawaz, Babar, Mubashir Hussain, Farooq, Pervaiz and Rubina, who are stated to be in serious condition.
After the explosion security personnel and police reached on the scene of the blast.
The hotel is popular with foreigners and at the time of incident rooms were filled with foreigner journalists for the coverage of some programme. At the sudden explosion the lobby and restaurant got filled with smoke, which hindered affectees efforts to move away from the lobby. Hotel administration opened the back doors of the hotel to help affectees' evacuation from the hotel, staff of the hotel on condition of anonymity told Online.
A flood of security squads were deployed immediately who sealed the hotel and denied disclosing information regarding the explosion. Roads leading to political institutions, MNAs lodges, Federal Secretariat, famous markets have been cordoned off for security reasons.
October 28, 2004
Capital placed on high alert through Election Day
By Jason Sherman
Times staff writer
U.S. military personnel assigned to the Washington, D.C., area are on
alert against a terrorist attack that might aim to affect next weeks
Forces patrolling around the national capital including the skies,
waterways and land approaches have increased their vigilance to
prevent an attack as well as respond to a crisis.
Weve taken steps to increase security, Maj. Gen. Galen Jackman,
commander of the Joint Force Headquarters-National Capital Region,
said in a brief interview Oct. 28. Its been done in all the domains: the
maritime domain, the air domain, the land domain.
This activity is tied to intelligence gathered earlier this summer,
Jackman said, that pointed toward a possible attack against U.S.
financial institutions and other major national events.
There was an increasing awareness that [the intelligence suggesting
an attack] may be related to the elections, the inauguration, the
Army two-star said. There are some steps being taken here in the
national capital region both on the side of law enforcement and
interagency side to increase the level of security.
The Pentagon earlier this fall folded all military units assigned to the
Washington area, including the Coast Guard, into a new headquarters
focused on homeland defense. More than 5,200 service members
working across the region are now available to protect government
nerve centers, including the White House, Capitol, Supreme Court
Based at Fort McNair, just blocks from the U.S. Capitol, the new
command weaves elements from each service across the area that
until now have operated independently of each other.
They include the Armys Military District of Washington; the Naval
District of Washington; the Marine Corps National Capital Region
Command at Quantico, Va.; the Air Forces 11th Wing at Bolling Air
Force Base in the District of Columbia and 89th Airlift Wing at
Andrews Air Force Base, Md. and the U.S. Coast Guards Fifth
These commands collectively have a wide range of conventional
military capabilities, including a brigade combat team, units that
operate the Avenger missile defense system designed to shoot down
aircraft flying at low altitudes and high speeds, airlift assets and a
river fleet to patrol the waterways around the capital, particularly the
Potomac and Anacostia rivers.
They also have a number of unique niche capabilities, such as an
engineering unit that specializes in rescuing people from collapsed
buildings and a group that specializes in dealing with chemical and
biological weapons attacks.
This new organization reports to U.S. Northern Command at Peterson
Air Force Base, Colo., which oversees domestic military support to
In a crisis, the Joint Force Headquarters would oversee a task force
that could include up to 4,000 additional service members from
outside the area, to include special operations troops.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld ordered the formation of the new
headquarters in June 2003.
The national capital region includes the District of Columbia and the
surrounding area, including Montgomery and Prince Georges
counties in Maryland and Arlington, Fairfax, Prince William and
Loudon counties in Virginia. The cities of Alexandria, Fairfax,
Manassas and Manassas Park are also part of the 2,500-square-mile
swath comprising the joint operations area of the new command.
The last time Washington was attacked by a foreign force was in the
War of 1812, when the British sacked the city. Special security
arrangements were put in place during the Civil War.
But for decades, one of the main functions of military personnel
assigned to Washington was to support ceremonial duties around
Now they have specific tasks related to homeland defense that are
all tied to contingencies here in the nations capital and they are
required to train on those tasks, Jackman said in September when
the command was established.
October 27, 2004
Ill. hospitals warned about fake doctors
FBI SEEKING INFORMATION
We are urgently seeking information on the identity of the person pictured here--a self-proclaimed American jihadist using the alias 'Azzam the American, aka 'Azzam Al-Amriki
He may currently be located outside the United States.
To give you as much information as possible on this person, we are attaching clips from the video interview he recently gave, and the transcript of those clips. We hope you might recognize him from his voice, his body language, or the style and content of his speech.
Alleged American Al Qaeda
Warns of U.S. Attacks
Azzam the American: 'Streets of America Will Run Red With Blood'
A man identified only as "Azzam the American" appears on a tape saying America faces a new wave of terror attacks. (ABC News)
By BRIAN ROSS
NEW YORK, Oct. 28, 2004 A man describing himself as an American member of al Qaeda says a new wave of terror attacks against the United States could come "at any moment," according to a videotape obtained by ABC News.
The tape was acquired by ABC News last Friday from a source known to have Taliban and al Qaeda contacts in the tribal region of Pakistan. ABC paid the source $500 in transportation fees.
While CIA officials say they have not been able to authenticate the 75-minute tape, an agency spokesman says it "appears to have been produced by al Qaeda's media organization, al Sahab productions." The tape is marked with the same logo and graphics seen on previous videos released by al Qaeda.
The man on the tape is identified only as "Azzam the American." U.S. officials say they had not previously known of the nom de guerre. His face is never fully visible and he makes no reference to where in the United States he might have lived.
"No, my fellow countrymen you are guilty, guilty, guilty, guilty. You are as guilty as Bush and Cheney. You're as guilty as Rumsfeld and Ashcroft and Powell," he says in what he calls his message to America. "After decades of American tyranny and oppression, now it's your turn to die. Allah willing, the streets of America will run red with blood matching drop for drop the blood of America's victims."
Senior administration officials told ABC News tonight that copies of the tape are being provided to all 13 current and former administration figures mentioned by name in the tape, and that the tape is being shown to captured al Qaeda leaders in U.S. custody to see if they can identify the man on the tape.
"A member of al Qaeda who professes to be a U.S. citizen was always coveted and looked for by the al Qaeda," said Jack Cloonan, a former FBI agent who interviewed a number of captured al Qaeda members and is now an ABC News consultant. Cloonan said he believed the tape to be authentic.
Law enforcement officials and linguistic expert Gerald Lampe, deputy director of the National Foreign Language Center at the University of Maryland, believe English was not Azzam's first language. They speculate he may have learned English as a child in a household of non-native speakers.
U.S. officials believe there are several Americans working with al Qaeda, including Adam Gadahn, a former Southern California student who is wanted for questioning by the FBI. U.S. intelligence officials say the voice on the tape does not match Gadahn's or that of any Americans suspected of being part of al Qaeda.
Azzam makes references to several American officials, including 9/11 Commission Chairman Tom Kean, and even refers to the controversial remarks made by comedian Bill Maher about the cowardice of the U.S. launching cruise missiles compared with terrorist suicide attacks.
And he warned that Sept. 11 was only the beginning.
"People of America, I remind you of the weighty words of our leaders, Osama bin Laden and Dr. Ayman al-Zawahri, that what took place on Sept. 11 was but the opening salvo of the global war on America," said Azzam. "And that Allah willing, the magnitude and ferocity of what is coming your way will make you forget all about Sept. 11."
Three foreign UN election
workers kidnapped in Kabul
Thu Oct 28, 2004
Asia - AFP
KABUL (AFP) - Armed men wearing military-style jackets abducted three foreign United Nations election workers in broad daylight in Kabul as vote-counting ended in Afghanistan's landmark election.
The trio -- a British-Irish woman, a woman from Kosovo and a Filipino diplomat -- were pulled from their UN-marked car in front of a UN compound in a busy west Kabul neighbourhood, UN officials and witnesses said.
They were employed by the joint UN-Afghan election commission that oversaw Afghanistan's first presidential election on October 9.
The kidnappers forced the three out of their car in front of the UN compound in a busy street, beat up their driver and bundled them into a black four-wheel drive vehicle just after 12:30 pm (0800 GMT), officials and witnesses said.
The driver, who was left behind as the kidnappers tore away at high speed, sounded the alarm.
"The (UN workers) were stopped... by armed men in camouflage military uniforms driving a four-by-four vehicle and were kidnapped," interior ministry spokesman Lutfullah Mashal told AFP.
The kidnappers were armed with AK-47 rifles, said an Afghan intelligence official.
A group calling itself the Army of Muslims claimed responsibility, Arabic satellite television station Al-Jazeera reported.
"Fighters from the Army of Muslims have kidnapped the three UN workers," the group's commander, Syed Akbar Agha, told the station's correspondent in Islamabad, the capital of neighbouring Pakistan.
A senior Pakistani religious leader said the group was the new military wing of Afghanistan's former ruling Taliban regime and was headed by the hardline militants' fugitive spiritual leader, Mullah Omar.
"It has been assigned the task of conducting military operations against occupying forces (in Afghanistan), targeting foreign non-governmental organisations and people associated with them," said the Pakistani religious leader, who had close links with the ousted regime.
An Afghan intelligence chief also told AFP this month that the Army of Muslims was a radical new Taliban wing operating in small bands of two or three fighters.
A purported Taliban spokesman who has issued previous Taliban claims for attacks said his group was not behind the abductions.
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan expressed deep regret upon learning of the abductions.
"The secretary general today learned with deep regret and dismay that three international staff contracted by the UN Development Program were abducted," Annan's spokesman said in a brief statement.
"Very few details are known at present. The United Nations is in close contact with the authorities and is hoping for the staff members' immediate and unconditional release."
The US embassy warned this month that foreigners could be targeted for political kidnappings, which have become prevalent this year in Iraq.
"Anti-government forces are planning to implement a policy of kidnapping foreigners as a political tool," the embassy said in a statement on October 8.
Fighters loyal to the Taliban have been waging a bloody insurgency, targeting foreign and Afghan aid workers, troops and officials. They failed to disrupt October 9 elections but have since killed 21 people.
More than 60 election workers, including three foreigners, have been killed in Taliban-related violence in Afghanistan this year.
Over the past two years 34 UN and aid workers, four of them foreigners, have been killed in other non-election violence, said Nick Downie, a security adviser for a coalition of aid organisations.
The abduction was the first of its kind in Kabul since the Taliban's fall three years ago and drew disturbing parallels with the spate of kidnappings in Iraq.
The Irish foreign ministry identified the kidnapped Irish national as Annetta Flanigan.
"I condemn unreservedly this kidnapping and call for the immediate and unconditional release of those taken," Irish Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern said.
Foreign peacekeepers, Afghan troops and local police launched a full-scale search for the abducted trio in several Kabul neighbourhoods and the Paghman valley west of the city.
The abductions come five days after a suicide bomber attacked a group of foreign peacekeepers buying carpets on Kabul's famous "Chicken Street" shopping strip.
An American woman, 23, and an Afghan girl, 11, were killed and three Icelandic peacekeepers were injured in Saturday's attack, for which the Taliban claimed responsibility.
Election commission officials, meanwhile, announced the completion of the drawn-out presidential vote count.
US-backed interim leader Hamid Karzai won in a landslide with more than 55 percent of the vote, avoiding a potentially destabilising second-round run-off.
The abductions highlighted one of Karzai's most pressing concerns -- how to end decades of violence in a nation that has suffered from decades of oppressive rule by communists, the Soviets, warlords and the Taliban.
Al-Qaeda website praises
al-Zarqawi join up
October 28 2004
Cairo, Egypt - Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda terrorist network appears to have confirmed in an online magazine that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, responsible for much of the violence in Iraq, has joined forces with the international terror group.
The editorial in al-Qaeda's bimonthly online military publication Al-Battar Camp praised the decision by al-Zarqawi, leader of the Tawhid and Jihad group in Iraq, to join forces.
"That the leader of the Tawhid and Jihad group announced his allegiance to the sheikh of holy war and holy warriors in our time, Abu Abdallah Osama bin Laden... is a good omen for victory," said an editorial in the bimonthly al-Qaeda military publication Al-Battar Camp.
Tawhid and Jihad, which has claimed responsibility for many of the attacks in Iraq, declared its allegiance to bin Laden two weeks ago, citing the need for unity against "the enemies of Islam".
The group now calls itself al-Qaeda in Iraq, but some had been unconvinced that al-Qaeda recognised the pledge of allegiance. The editorial appeared to dispel those doubts, although the authenticity of such Internet magazines can never be confirmed.
The editorial also urged Sunni Muslim fighters in Iraq to join hands with bin Laden to defeat what it calls the Crusaders, urging them to take al-Zarqawi's move as a model.
"We are urging all the leaders of Sunni holy warriors to fight for God's word to prevail over that of the infidels, to join hands with the leader of Islam's soldiers today, Osama bin Laden," the editorial said.
The leaders of Sunni Muslim fighters in Iraq "should follow the lead of holy warrior leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, may God keep him, who initiated this good precedent, may God reward him," the magazine said.
It said bin Laden would bring "victory (over) infidels from the atheist Crusaders".
Al-Battar, Arabic for "sharp sword", is a slick Web magazine featuring a table of contents and op-ed page and a letters to the editor section.
Briton kidnapped in
Thu 28 October, 2004
By Simon Cameron-Moore
KABUL (Reuters) - A Briton and two other foreigners helping to organise Afghanistan's first presidential election have been kidnapped by armed men in Kabul, triggering fears that militants were copying tactics used by insurgents in Iraq. Government and election officials said the three -- including two women -- were snatched from their U.N. vehicle as they were being driven from work during peak lunchtime traffic.
U.S. Urges Caution for
Americans in Russia
Wed Oct 27, 2004
WASHINGTON - Nearly two months after the seizure of a Russian school left hundreds dead, the State Department on Wednesday warned Americans visiting or living in the country that "there remains a heightened potential for terrorist actions, including attacks against civilians."
In extending its warning through March 2005, the State Department said that Russia's security situation "is likely to continue for some time" and that Americans should take precautions to avoid becoming a random victim of another attack.
A series of terrorist attacks in late August and early September left some 430 people dead. Twin plane bombings killed 90 people aboard, and an attack near a Moscow subway station killed nine, plus the bomber. More than 330 hostages died during the Sept. 1-3 seizure of a school in Beslan by heavily armed attackers.
Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev has claimed responsibility for the Beslan massacre and other recent attacks.
The State Department reiterated warnings against travel throughout much of Russia's Caucasus region, in particular to Chechnya and bordering areas.
The public announcement also advised Americans to remain alert when using public transportation and to consider avoiding the subway.
911 : New Cover-up
revealed? 9/11 Black Boxes "found"
Will Bunch/Philadelphia News -October 28
Two men who worked extensively in the wreckage of the World Trade Center claim they helped federal agents find three of the four black boxes from the jetliners that struck the towers on 9/11 - contradicting the official account.
Both the independent 9/11 Commission and federal authorities continue to insist that none of the four devices - a cockpit voice recorder (CVR) and flight data recorder (FDR) from the two planes - were ever found in the wreckage.
But New York City firefighter Nicholas DeMasi has written in a recent book -- self-published by several Ground Zero workers -- that he escorted federal agents on an all-terrain vehicle in October 2001 and helped them locate three of the four...
His account is supported by a volunteer, Mike Bellone, whose efforts at Ground Zero have been chronicled in the New York Times and elsewhere. Bellone said assisted DeMasi and the agents and that saw a device that resembling a black box in the back of the firefighters ATV.
Their story raises the question of whether there was a some type of cover-up at Ground Zero. Federal aviation officials - blaming the massive devastation - have said the World Trade Center attacks seem to be the only major jetliner crashes in which the critical devices were never located.
A footnote to the 9/11 Commission Report issued this summer flatly states: The CVRs and FDRs from American 11 and United 175 - the two planes that hit the Trade Center - were not found.
And officials for the FBI - which oversaw the cleanup at Ground Zero - and the New York City Fire Department repeated this week that the devices were never recovered.
The black boxes - actually orange - could have provided valuable new information about the worst terror attack to ever take place on American soil.
The cockpit voice recorder uses two microphones to capture the sounds of the cockpit for the last 30 minutes of a doomed flight on a tape loop. In the case of the hijacked 9/11 jetliners, the devices should have captured any conversations or actions involving the hijackers, as well as radio transmissions.
The flight data recorder records things like airspeed, heading, and altitude. Both devices - located in the tail of the airplane - emit loud pings so they can be located even in ocean jetliner crashes, like the 1996 explosion of TWA Flight 800 off Long Island.
They are built to survive an impact of enormous force - 3400 Gs - and a fire of 1100 degrees Celsius for one hour, somewhat higher than official estimates of the World Trade Center blaze.
It's extremely rare that we don't get the recorders back. I can't recall another domestic case in which we did not recover the recorders, Ted Lopatkiewicz, spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board, told CBS News in 2002. However, officials said little of the jets was recovered.
DeMasi was with now defunct Engine Company 261 in 2001. He wrote up his recollections of the Ground Zero recovery in a glossy book self-published by a group that calls itself Trauma Recovery Assistance for Children, or the TRAC Team. The book was published in 2003 but received little notice.
DeMasi, an all-terrain vehicles hobbyist - said he donated 4 ATVs to the clean-up and became known as the ATV Guy.
At one point, I was asked to take Federal Agents around the site to search for the black boxes from the planes, he wrote. We were getting ready to go out. My ATV was parked at the top of the stairs at the Brooks Brothers entrance area. We loaded up about a million dollars worth of equipment and strapped it into the ATV...
There were a total of four black boxes. We found three.
Efforts over several days to locate and interview DeMasi, who is now said to be with the FDNYs Marine Unit, were not successful.
But his account was verified by another member of the so-called TRAC Team, recovery site volunteer Bellone. He recalled FBI agents arriving for the search one day in early October, setting up their equipment near Brooks Brothers. He said he didnt go out with them on the ATV but observed their search.
At one point, Bellone said he observed the team with a box that appeared charred but was redish-orange with two white stripes. Pictures of the flight recorders on the NTSB and other Web sites show devices that are orange, with two white stripes.
There was the one that I saw, and two others were recovered in different locations - but I wasnt there for the other two, Bellone said. He said the FBI agents left with the boxes.
If the account by DeMasi and Bellone is true, its not clear what motive federal authorities would have for claiming they werent found.
By the same token, however, its not clear what incentive either man would have to lie.
An FBI spokesman in New York, Jim Margolin, said after checking with the leader of the Ground Zero investigation that none of the boxes were recovered.
Frank Gribbon, the FDNY spokesman, also said no one in the Department is aware of the recovery of any of the airline "black boxes" at the WTC site.
Bellone has encounted some unrelated problems in connection with the TRAC group, however. In April, the New York Post reported (story not available online) that TRAC owned money to a number of creditors, including the company that published the book. Fire officials also told Bellone, who was made an honorary firefighter by a New York engine company, that he couldnt wear an official uniform on school visits...
Demands Immediate Release Of CIA Inspector General's Report,
Cheney Counter-Terrorism Task Force And War Game Records,
Pentagon Evidence Seized By FBI And Suppressed 911 Report
Of 'Broadly Inaccurate Accounts By Several Civil And Military Officials'
more 911 information
The Bush - Saudi
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